At its March 21 meeting, the Watkins city council heard the results of their 2012 audit by KDV. No errors or issues were found. The city is “right on target” by having 50 percent of next year’s budget set aside in a fund balance.
Monte Eastvold of Northland Securities addressed the council about the sale of the city’s $4,725,000 bond on March 21. Two bids were received that were very close. Piper Jaffray’s bid was selected (over Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc., of Milwaukee); the difference was 0.014 percent interest. The original loan was in 2009 for road, water and sewer repairs in the City of Watkins. The total sale price was $4,749,239.31 which included the cost of obtaining a new credit rating for the city. The $44,295 cost of issuance is included there too. Repayment was extended one year at 3.7754 percent interest; the loan will mature in 2049. The yearly payments will be slightly higher until maturity, but the net savings to the city is $1,167,521.22. This new loan can be refinanced as early as 2020; prepayment is another option open to the city. The city will receive a $17,048.75 payment from Piper Jaffray at closing, which Eastvold suggests the city put in the bank.
2013 Watkins Ambulance officers were named: Ben Aho chief, Sharon Donnay treasurer, Shirley Jacklitch secretary, Julie Hilsgen training officer, Jeff Hilsgen & Theresa Carlson Relief Association.
The city will put out for bid, separately, the inspection and maintenance work on the water tower.
The city received two bids for the 1987 plow truck that had recently been replaced. The high bid was $2,105 from Chad Kipp; this was accepted unanimously. (The other bid was $1,875 from French Lake Auto Parts.)
Randy Kramer had a water leak and is requesting the sewer portion of his $1,157 water bill for 59,000 gallons of water in January be written off. The city will investigate whether any of this water could have gone down the sewer, in which case it likely would not be written off.
Steve Geislinger passed a certification test March 20. His salary was raised $.50 per hour for passing the test, and $.50 for now being the Public Works Director.
Wally’s Café has requested two handicap parking spaces, one on Central Ave. and the other on 2nd St. It would need Meeker County approval to put one on Central Ave. It was noted that there used to be one there when it was the drugstore, and that there will be better visibility at the intersection when there are no cars parked in the handicap spots. This request was approved pending county approval. Steve Geislinger will take care of signage and painting the spots.
Resident Brenda Carlson presented a number of fundraising ideas for the Watkins pool. She will serve on a pool committee along with the new pool managers. The goal of the city is to lose less money on the pool. The committee will report to the council. The council approved an increase to $35 per child for summer swimming lessons. A lengthy discussion of the timing of repairs followed: it may be impossible to do all needed repairs and painting in time for this year’s season. It was decided to see what the condition is after the thaw, and to decide then which repairs to make and which to postpone until fall.
It was noted by the city clerk that the city has not been charged for Central Avenue street lights, and they can only back-bill the city for a year (based on average usage). The lights are now customer-owned. Mayor Loch suggested that the city change back to Xcel-owned lights. Clerk Kramer will get a cost comparison.
The city’s Board of Appeal & Equalization will be Wednesday, April 17.